Cross-posted on Right Michigan at www.RightMichigan.com.
The latest regional unemployment numbers are out and boy are they ugly. The Metro Detroit region actually saw a dip in their unemployment rate due to a handful of new jobs and thousands of folks leaving and thinning the jobless ranks but it's a sad story everywhere else.
Flint, Monroe and Northeast lower Michigan all have rates in the double-figures and even Ann Arbor has seen their's spike to 6.9%, well above the national average. But the real heartbreaking numbers? You've got to sift through all of the part-time summer layoffs for public school employees, sift through the thousands upon thousands who've fled the state in the last month alone, get past all of the moms and dads who've just plain given up, all having an effect on the number of unemployed job seekers, and then you can get down to the nitty-gritty... the number of private sector jobs lost in Michigan in the month of July alone... 58,000. No typos. No extra zeros. 58,000 jobs lost in Michigan in July alone.
Compound the surge in job seekers with higher food and fuel prices and a foreclosure crisis that's affecting everyone from Kym Worthy to your neighbor down the street (though I've got slightly more sympathy for the proverbial Mrs. Smith). Yep, we're cooking here in the old Wolverine State.
State Democrats' answer? Vacation. They're still at the beach, so to speak. Another week, another round of dark days on the floor of the Democratic controlled Michigan House of Representatitves. Mary Valentine, Mike Simpson, Marc Corriveau, Andy Dillon, Bob Dean and the whole team are more interested in working on their tans than on fixing a broken Michigan Business Tax and cleaning up the job-creation environment. Frankly, the importance of food on your families table pales in comparison with a trip to Disneyland.
Read on... Bart Stupak and Congressional Democrats aren't much better. But at least they're only in the middle of a five-week taxpayer funded vacation. Team Dillon is in the middle of a break twice as long. And it's tough to address Michigan's problems when you're not at the office. The good folks avoiding Washington D.C. refuse to allow a vote on domestic drilling while Republicans remain on the floor demanding we put all-hands-on-deck.
With the Democrats' insistence on higher gas prices it might be a giant blessing in disguise that they've cashed $13,000 worth of paychecks and promptly abandoned Lansing for two and a half months. If their thinking is anywhere in line with their local policy Bible, the Ivory Tower, we could all be in trouble.
The rag this morning suggests that we aren't paying enough for gas and insists that Dillon and company raise the state gas tax by nine cents a gallon. This is an especially dangerous op-ed considering the fact that the Democratic Speaker of the House confessed to road builders earlier this year that a vote to do precisely that was likely as soon as the elections were over and voters two years away from a chance to kick any of the lefty bums out of office.
Not that they'll admit it anymore. Which brings me to a suggestion for all of you bloggers and journalists out there who'll have the opportunity to interview incumbent members of the Michigan House between now and November. Ask them, if in November or December of this year a bill comes to the floor of the House to raise gas prices on Michigan moms and dads would you vote yes or no?
Inquiring minds want to know. My fear is we'll hear a lot of "no" but come this fall we'll be yearning for the days when House Dems deemed legislative work unimportant and sat around, instead, singing about never kissing chipmunks or wearing leggings.